PFOA – Water – Your Health by Cindy Dittfield

Updated: Jan 14, 2019

I read a lot of articles each day about all things water. Some days I find my muse from an article in the local paper, on my Facebook feed, or through word of mouth. However, what normally happens is as my husband reads the paper, he points out each viable article to me as I sip my coffee in the morning. The writer in me usually takes to the keys after I finish at least my first pot; however; there are times when I read about something extremely important or perhaps something that will personally impact me or my family, and bang, I’m writing.

That’s exactly what happened today (2/14/16). This morning on the front of the newspaper was an article about a potential problem in the local water. As predicted, my husband placed the paper in front of my nose.

Considering that we live in northern New Jersey akin to the towns mentioned in the article, I was more than paying attention. I took a look at the headline and instead of pushing the paper aside for reading later, I grabbed it and began my due diligence.

My writings are based on information I gather from articles and other blogs. They are for the most part written to prompt the audience to have a consideration about water softening or water filtration; however, with this information I believe it is paramount that you, the reader, do your own research and have someone test your water. I know I will be. I began by pulling up articles about PFOA and what it was. Then I needed to understand where it was – my town? A town I lived in? A town someone in my family lives in?

What I Found Out PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) also known as C8, is a chemical created from a gas that ultimately ends up being what we know today as a non-stick surface product or as we’ve come to know it Teflon. It is also found in items labeled Gor-tex. Let’s take a look at the acceptable levels for PFOA in drinking water – oh wait – there are NONE. The EPA has determined that .04 parts/billion is considered the line; however, a growing number of researchers believe that at .02 parts/billion, which is the norm in most towns in NJ, is still way too high.

Health Concerns Associated with PFOA Laboratory studies show that animals exposed to PFOA showed an increased risk of certain tumors of the liver, testicles and mammary glands, as well as the pancreas. Normally well-conducted studies in animals can provide a good indication of what exposures cause cancers in humans; however, with PFOA there are clear differences in how the bodies of humans and animals differ handling this chemical. Studies in humans have found that people exposed to PFOA do have high risks of bladder and kidney cancers. Those who work directly with these products are at the most risk because the product is released as a gas form.

If tested PFOA can be found in the blood serum of most of us – eek. It is especially toxic to children. County by County I found this interactive map on line and thought it would be beneficial to share it with my readers. Simply zoom in or out to find out how your area faired with PFOA testing. Click on your county and it will bring up a small dialog box that tells the story in your neck of the woods.

Everything I’m reading is telling me that PFOAs are dangerous and carcinogenic.

Solution Because PFOAs are airborne they eventually end up in your water system. A filtering system containing Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) or a reverse osmosis system (or RO) may be helpful in eliminating some of the PFOAs. However, one of the first things I’m doing is going through my pots and pans and tossing anything with a stick-free surface.

There are many articles about this issue on the Internet. I suggest you take a moment or two to do a little reading or at minimum click on some of the hyperlinks in this blog to learn more. Once you have, contact a reputable water filtration company for a water test and put your mind at ease. I know I’m going to….today.

~ Cindy Dittfield, writer for Passaic Bergen Water Softening